So, it’s definitely winter here in Canaryville…you might laugh at me for my idea of winter after having lived in the Minnesota tundra, but even so…winter it is…short grey days, blustery winds and rain. The temps aren’t overly chilly, but it *feels* freezing…partly because of the humidity, partly because of the structural elements of the house…marble floors and concrete walls don’t lend well to warmth. lol Here in the city of Las Palmas especially, it’s rare that people have central heating installed, so chilly days really are chilly…even inside! I generally provide improvisational heat by baking, and making bubbly things on the stove. I think it’s almost like aromatherapy heat…psychologically, comforting smells warm the soul and therefore, the body.
Lentils have to be one of my favorite things ever. I like them in just about anything, but in soup or stew they really appeal to my soup/stew addicted senses. Rich in iron, protein, B vitamins, potassium and calcium, lentils really pack a nutritional punch too. Spanish chorizo (from Asturias) really deepens the flavor of this stew. It, along with the bacon add a wonderful smokiness that makes this one of my winter favorites. (Don’t be alarmed at the long list of ingredients, the recipe is actually very easy, just chop and throw everything into the pot.)
2 pounds (1 kilo) dried lentils (I use the tiny dark brown ones)
1 large onion, minced
1 yam, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 zucchini, diced
1 piece of pumpkin, peeled..I used about 2 cups worth of diced
4 Spanish chorizos, sliced
1/2 pound bacon (200 grams), cut into bite sized pieces
beef broth or water and bouillon to cover vegetables completely, and to allow lentils to absorb water.
2/3 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
thyme to taste
2 bay leaves
garlic powder to taste (I actually prefer garlic powder to fresh in this recipe) fresh garlic tends to lose it’s flavor when it’s boiled, while the powder adds a toasted garlic flavor that really adds to this. Alternatively, you could brown some garlic in a bit of olive oil in the stockpot before adding the other ingredients)
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and sort lentils.
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer, covered for 2 hours, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove cover and simmer until desired thickness of stew is achieved (I usually leave it another hour or so), stirring occasionally.
Serve with cracked black pepper.
** This stew is even better the next day.